It has been passed down for generations now,
this blue ceramic mug with the gold moon inlay.
I pour boiling water in, sit at my desk
and hold it as if I’ve belonged to it forever.
The frozen ground of my hands cup the clay
ceremony of its kilned curve and pull the heat.
I wait for the thaw.
The milk’s cold century to let down
so I can feel my own pulse.
Just as my mother did, and her mother before,
and her mother before, and her mother before
all the way back through the howling of time.
I think about the book I am writing. The moraine
of hesitation it has become. A beautiful reluctance
pressed down into the crevasse of my lineage.
They say a glacier is a persistent body
of dense ice constantly moving
under its own weight.
Perhaps I too have been formed over centuries
where the accumulation of snow exceeds ablation.
Perhaps my great great grandmother left the heat
of her dreams in this mug so I can defrost now,
melt the red ink of my pulse into a new history.
Perhaps the slow deliquescence is quickening now
to unmoor all those microorganisms of measured cruelty
she had to endure so the whole warming sea of us can rise up
and flood this continent with the fresh waters of reconciliation.
This piece is one in a series, Climacteric: On the Turning Point, a poetic collaboration for National Poetry Writing Month (#NaPoWriMo) by Samantha Wallen and Michelle Puckett. To read the previous poem in the series, click here. To read the next poem in the series, click here.
Samantha Wallen, MFA is a poet, writer, writing guide & book coach who offers writing circles, workshops, community writing programs, private mentoring, and retreats for writers & want-to-be writers. Her work on and off the page seeks to restore the soul of our world one word at a time.